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Churches warn govt over deepening crisis

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s government has behaved in an “irresponsible” way in the face of a growing economic crisis and risks, forcing the public to lose confidence in it, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has warned.

BY SILAS NKALA

In a strongly-worded statement, ZCC, a grouping of 26 different denominations, said the citizens’ concerns were legitimate, adding the government should strive to regain lost public confidence.

“Zimbabweans have lost trust that the government is sincere in addressing national problems, when they see the government officials sending their children to foreign schools and being treated in foreign hospitals,” it said.

The latest crisis in Zimbabwe emerged over the weekend, when fuel queues resurfaced and panic-buying of basic commodities gripped some stores.

“The period has been characterised by anxiety and fear of a repeat of 2007 and 2008.

“These fears are legitimate since there is no adequate formal information regarding what is going on.

“In a situation where there are winding queues at the fuel stations, it is irresponsible for any government official to insinuate that all is well in our nation,” ZCC said.

“In a situation where shortages of basic commodities like cooking oil are rife and where available commodities are sold at a premium, it is irresponsible for the government to appear to be blaming the citizens, who are seeking to buy as much as they can to secure their long-term supplies.

“We are addressing our message to both the duty bearers – the government itself – as well as to the Zimbabwean citizens in general and also the church itself. Every government is instituted by God to ensure peace, justice and equal opportunities for all.

“It is from the consent of the citizens that every government must derive this divine mandate.”

The organisation said the government must make a deliberate choice to show that it is making efforts to cut unnecessary expenses requiring forex.

“The government of Zimbabwe has, therefore, the duty to demonstrate its commitment to citizens’ welfare, peace and justice.

“It must, through the different arms of the State, make sure peace prevails, by appealing to reciprocal actions for duty bearers and rights holders.

“The government needs to address the perception that the current shortages are a result of bad economic decisions, corruption and greed among those close to power.”

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